Thursday, October 29, 2015

7 comments MMQB Review: MMQB Brought To You By Yahoo and the NFL Edition

Peter King still doesn't know what a factoid is and thinks that Johnny Manziel (who he doesn't know personally at all he admits) needs to do better in order to keep his NFL career alive. This week Peter talks about winning streaks, how Internet football is all the rage around the world, discusses the Dolphins turnaround under the bro Dan Campbell, and he writes "What a country" because there is hockey in Brooklyn. Peter King gets to write a weekly column AND hockey is in non-traditional cities. WHAT A COUNTRY THIS IS! Except for the gun violence, of course. The gun violence and the people who insist on acting in a way while in public that Peter disproves of. Those people who talk on the phone while running in the park can fall into a lake, but otherwise, what a country!

Sunday was a historic day in the NFL, a little bit on the field, and a big bit off. On: Carolina’s 27-16 win over the Eagles means the NFL has five 6-0 teams simultaneously for the first time in league history—Carolina, Cincinnati, Denver, Green Bay and New England.

One team sticks out pretty badly on the list as not belonging. Probably the team that can't throw the football very well and has had a somewhat shaky time in the passing game with a thrice-rejected wide receiver as their #1 receiver.

And though Buffalo-Jacksonville in London wasn’t a marquee game, it accomplished just what the NFL and Yahoo, the provider, had hoped. Yahoo announced that it had 15.6 million unique viewers and 33.6 million total live streams of the game; roughly 33% of that viewership came from outside the U.S.

This goes to show that if the NFL live streams one game between two non-playoff teams then people will watch the game possibly. Also, it shows that Peter King is going to sound like he is doing PR for the NFL and Yahoo in this MMQB. You know I have been somewhat suspicious about the NFL trying so damn hard to have success overseas, but Peter King is very, very fucking impressed with this first live stream result. This could open up the NFL to being able to live stream games and then not have games on television anymore. Which means NFL fans in the United States, you know, the people who buy the vast majority of the apparel, season tickets and actually support these teams, can all huddle around a computer or tablet (maybe even Roku!) at a party to watch a game stream. Sounds like fun.

And there’s little doubt that, though the league treats its 256 regular-season games like home-TV gold, it’s likely to parcel out more than one game to an internet company in 2016.

Probably not a bad idea. I bet the NFL's dream is to have teams in several different countries and never actually show the games on television. They can just live stream them all and everything will be great because people in other countries TOTALLY don't know that the NFL is a clusterfuck when it comes to concussions and doling out punishment to players who step outside the law or choose to deflate a football by a few PSI. Foreigners are so blind to all the NFL's faults. That's the ideal market for the NFL. 

Let’s begin with the stories of the week, from south Florida, New England, Charlotte, London, Indianapolis, New Jersey and Seattle, with stuff about donuts, the ticking time bomb that is Greg Hardy, and the deep scar that won’t be leaving Lovie Smith anytime soon.

Man, having Rex Grossman as his quarterback in Chicago has really left an impression on Lovie Smith. I bet he has nightmares about Grossman randomly throwing the ball deep in the hopes of a completion. 

Greg Hardy. I think the sooner we realize that Hardy is a member of the Dallas Cowboys only and absolutely only because he is a very good defensive end with rare pass-rush skills, the better off we’ll be.

Hey Peter, I think "we" already knew that Hardy is on the Cowboys roster because he's good at football and don't need to be reminded of this. If Hardy had a down year before his legal issues, like Ray Rice had, then maybe he wouldn't be defended and enabled like the Cowboys are doing for him. It's never been unclear as to why Hardy is with the Cowboys. If he couldn't play, he wouldn't be on the Cowboys roster. 

The video put on air by Mike Florio at NBC on Sunday night, showing Hardy in a sideline conflagration with Dallas special-teams coach Rich Bisaccia—slapping the clipboard in the coach’s hand threateningly, causing the coach to shove Hardy and Hardy to get in his face—showed a player bordering on out of control.

Yeah, but he is a team leader according to Jerry Jones. This is just an example of Hardy being a leader and telling the special teams coach that as a leader of the Cowboys team he isn't going to give a flying fuck what he thinks and he feels the need to be disrespectful in order to prove just how much of a team leader he is.

Hardy is a troubled guy and enabling his behavior, as has been done during parts of his NFL career isn't going to help this situation stay in control. 

I don't expect the Cowboys to cut Hardy. He plays too well. But it would be nice if, instead of saying things like what a great and fiery competitor he is, someone with the Cowboys would say: “If Hardy continues to act volcanic, he’s going to have to find somewhere else to play. If anyone will have him.”

Okay, well that's stupid Peter. The Cowboys are never going to publicly say that no one else will want Hardy nor will they say publicly he's on the edge of not being a Cowboy anymore. Should they? Possibly, but I don't think any NFL teams would call out a player on the team in this fashion. If a Cowboys player did it, and I'm sure at least one thinks it, then he knows his comments would be chum in the water for a circus surrounding the team. These types of comments just aren't happening. 

Midway through the fourth quarter in a rout of Houston, Tannehill threw a 10-yard out pass to backup tight end Dion Sims. It was high, but Sims raised one hand and the ball bounced off it. Had he put both hands up, who knows? But it was a catchable ball, for sure. So Tannehill finished 18 of 19 for 282 yards with four touchdowns (all in the first 16 minutes) and no interceptions.

Player on the rise. Tannehill should play for the Rams so they could have a player on the rise for a team on the rise. In all non-snark, Tannehill has plenty of good players around him and it's about time the Dolphins let him play to the strengths of those players around Tannehill. Maybe now Tannehill won't feel the need to berate practice squad players, though I'm sure that report was totally untrue. 

Afterward I said to Tannehill it was a shame about that 19th throw. “What’s that?” he said. You know, I said, the fact that it ruined his perfect day. He acted as if it wasn’t a big deal, because of the way the day was game-planned.

Peter loves to do this shit. He loves to be cutesy by bringing up the one thing that went wrong on an otherwise flawless day when interviewing a player, as if no one but Peter is aware that one thing went wrong. It's like Peter wants the player to come off as a team player and be like, "My God, you are so smart to notice this one thing I didn't notice about my or the team's performance today." Why the fuck would Tannehill think this missed pass was a big deal when the Dolphins played so well otherwise? 

Obviously, the coaching change in Miami is agreeing with Tannehill. He’s an 83.3 percent passer in the two games since Dan Campbell took over. “He wants us to play like we played as kids, with a love of the game,” Tannehill said.

Peter King has a massive fucking erection right now. Ryan Tannehill says Dan Campbell wants the Dolphins to play the game like kids, precocious little kids who haven't a hair on their body from puberty and don't know the evils of life and how disappointing it is to grow up and be a man. Playing like kids for the love of the game as Peter stands to side and wonders why can't HE be a little kid. Then he could play the game like a little kid like Tannehill does. They could both be little kids, hugging after a touchdown, giving half-fives and grabbing some lemonade and hoping mom will let Ryan sleep over on a school night. Just this once. Brett Favre played the game like a child and that's how Dan Campbell wants the Dolphins to play, just like precocious little kids. Nothing is better in Peter's mind than watching kids play sports, even if he has to stay by law on the other side of the fence and at least 250 yards away from the action. 

Dan Campbell. Stop saying, “Who cares? He’s beaten Tennessee and Houston, and they stink.”

I mean, I'm not saying that, but this is still a relevant point. Even if Joe Philbin was a disaster as a coach, it doesn't mean the Dolphins aren't playing above their head right now. Maybe not, but it's possible the Dolphins aren't as good as they have shown themselves to be over the last two games and Joe Philbin was terrible at his job. There is an opinion in between these two that could be factual. 

Part of my job at NBC on Sundays is to pay particularly close attention to the 1 p.m. ET games before production work for the Football Night show begins in earnest. And the difference in the Dolphins has been startling. One sack in the first four games. Ten sacks in the two games since Campbell took over. Clearly the players are playing with more drive, more passion. If you don’t love what you’re doing, it’s going to show in your work, negatively. And it’s clear these players like playing for the new boss.

Well, the Dolphins also claimed to like playing for Joe Philbin at one point. Remember Cameron Wake with his "Philbin comes and talks to us at night and seems to really care for us now" comments? The Dolphins are now winning, which means they like playing for their coach. 

Tom Brady. The Patriots are 6-0. Brady has thrown one interception, in 251 passes. For those inclined to hate him, or treat him the way so many baseball fans treat Alex Rodriguez, for instance, nothing he does will change your mind about him.

I don't know if I understand the A-Rod comparison here, but that may just be me. Even some Yankees fans don't like A-Rod, while Patriots fans are fiercely protective of Brady. I guess it's an easy comparison because they are both considered cheaters. 

Rex Ryan. The Bills had the fourth-best defense, statistically, in football last year, and Ryan said in the spring, “I know we’ll be better this year.” They’re 11th this morning. Players are grousing about roles. The quarterback who played Sunday, EJ Manuel, shows occasional flashes of good deep-ball throwing, but he cannot be saved.

Another flashback moment...remember last year when Peter suggested that E.J. Manuel should just say "fuck it" and throw the ball deep down the field? I'm not sure what that memory has much to do with anything right now, but Peter's suggestion that Manuel can't be saved and he's good at throwing a deep ball every once in a while just made me remember it. 

Kawann Short. Short is the one demanding more attention these days, and he’s proving that Gettleman was smart to eschew a receiver or cornerback early in that ’13 draft. When you can get quick big guys on the defensive front, Gettleman believes you never pass on them—and the pick of Short is proving him right.

Actually, when a team can get quick big guys on the defensive front, I think nearly every GM thinks you can't pass on these types of players. It's not just Gettleman who is smart enough to think, "Man, that big guy sure is fat, fast and dominant. Perhaps I should try to acquire him through the draft." 

The great live-streaming experiment.

“First,” said Brian Rolapp, “we wouldn’t call it an experiment. We waited until now because we wanted to make sure the internet could handle it;

Of course. I mean, so many people have dial-up phones and Internet these days that the NFL and Yahoo had to make sure these people who wanted to watch the Buffalo-Jacksonville game had enough free hours of AOL to watch the entire game. 

My experiment with Bills-Jags on Yahoo, 

Geez Peter, it's not an experiment!

I suppose, was not unlike others in the United States with things to do on Sunday morning. In my Manhattan East Side apartment, I tried two devices, a laptop and a smart phone, just before the game kicked off. Got into Yahoo.com immediately on both, and painlessly got the game up in time to see Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon give me a quick preview.

In Peter's "Manhattan East Side apartment" as opposed to simply, "my apartment," because it's important to know the exact location of Peter's apartment in order for this story about Internet to be told. Without Peter mentioning he lives on the East Side, I would have been totally confused. 

Rolapp and some NFL employees watched from a conference room on Park Avenue. “We had it up on laptops, tablets, Surfaces, iPhones, Roku, Xbox, everything we could think of,” he said, “and the stream held up well on all of them.”

I'm amazed to hear the NFL didn't have problems with the live stream video of the NFL football game that is the beginning of a new era in how the NFL presents their product to consumers. Here I thought the NFL would report the live stream didn't work at all and they are giving up trying to live stream games and any revenue they may go along with it. 

So the NFL wanted to see three things when it decided to take one of its three Sunday morning games from London and show it free on the internet only,

1. Will it lead to the league making more money?

2. Is there a way to present this product while also taking away a home game from one of the current NFL teams while also increasing how much money the NFL makes?

3. Will it lead to additional revenue for the NFL?

Two: The league wanted to see if there was an appetite for the game in some of the places where the NFL is underserved. Russia and China, for instance, and a Sunday morning game in Eastern Time would be a Sunday evening prime-time game in large swaths of Asia.

You know what? Fuck it, let's just put an NFL team in Taiwan. Why not? This live stream did well in that country, so obviously that means an entire NFL team can be supported in the country. Actually, here is a better idea. What if each NFL team has to play one international home game every year? Each team will play seven home regular season games per year and eight road games with an international game in there as a home game. Of course, season ticket holders will still be charged for 10 home games. 

Three: Would it all go smoothly enough so that the project might expand and more games would be exclusively streamed to the net beginning next year?

And if it goes smoothly once, why not expand the project to see if the Internet can handle more games exclusively streamed to the net? What if the NFL just stopped having football games in actual stadiums, still charged money to watch the games on the Internet, and simply played games in an empty venue where every person who would normally watch the game in the stadium has to pay to watch it on a computer? Of course, season ticket holders will still be charged extra for the 10 games they would go to if they actually were able to attend any of these games. 

The vast majority during the regular season and post-season are spoken for through 2020 and 2021. But there are three Sunday games (currently the early-window London games, starting at 9:30 a.m. ET) available, and there will be the Thursday night package in 2016; CBS is on a one-year deal for Thursdays in 2015, simulcasting with NFL Network and then ceding to NFL Network alone beginning in Week 9. That 16-game package is now up for negotiation for 2016 and beyond.

Money! Money! Money! 

I think it’s likely there could be a Sunday game plus at least one Thursday game headed for the internet in 2016.

It's a great idea actually. Usually the Thursday night games are shit, so why not share that shit with the rest of the world that doesn't have CBS or NFL Network? 

The MMQB asked fans around the world who watched the game on Sunday to send us their views of the streaming experience. Their responses were what you’d think if you watched: positive.

It's impossible for Peter to ignore this live streaming non-experiment of course, but it does sometimes feel like he's doing PR for the NFL and Yahoo in this MMQB. Nary a negative word was spoken about the live stream. Apparently no person in the world had an issue viewing the live stream. 

Tyrone Carriaga
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Gametime: 8:30 p.m. Sunday


“I watched at home using Apple TV. I watched because I do not see a live game as part of the TV package here. The start time was convenient as well. It looked like standard definition most of the game.

Standard definition? Where can I sign up for watching sports in standard definition? I have a television that I paid $2000 for which shows the best picture possible, but if I can get sports in standard definition instead of high definition then I'd like to sign up for this immediately! 

The rest of the comments are basically an advertisement for Yahoo and the NFL, including:

“I watched at home, on my phone and then my laptop. I try to watch as many games as I can. Big NFL fan. Playing at Wembley adds a little something extra. It's great to see a soccer temple being used for football. The quality was excellent. I expected a less-fluent transmission, but it turned out to be flawless.

Overall it was good. Quality on par with NFL Game Pass [the NFL’s subscription streaming service for fans outside the U.S. and Mexico]. No hassle, just click the link and it worked.”

I'll take any bit of NFL football any way I can.

I feel like the famous picture of Peter beside Roger Goodell eating lunch should be somewhere in this MMQB. It is not though, much to my dismay.

Watching NFL games on TV in Brazil is a very choppy experience: Between snaps (commercial breaks, timeouts, on-field reporting etc.), a lot of footage you see in the U.S. doesn't get televised here, so the viewing experience is not as good. The online stream was a smooth and consistent viewing experience. It was great. Much better than expected. Yahoo outdid themselves on the streaming quality.”

What if the NFL televised games on the Internet AND on a regular television? Or would that not work because it would mix revenue streams too much? I'm glad the game was a success, but it was one game, so I'm not jumping out of my seat with excitement quite yet. But Peter wants everyone who reads MMQB to know this non-experiment was a success. There was no hassle and it was in standard definition. All dreams have come true. 

More progress needs to be made. The co-chair of the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee, Seattle-based doctor Richard Ellenbogen, was in London for the conference. He is also one of the NFL’s unaffiliated head-trauma experts on the sidelines, and has the power to take a player off the field if he sees the player wobbly or otherwise showing symptoms of a concussion.

He has "the power" to do this. I'm a little confused as to how this gentleman is the co-chair of an NFL committee, but also unaffiliated with the NFL. Perhaps I'm just stupid. It just seems if he is the co-chair of an NFL committee then he is affiliated with the NFL in some way. 

I asked Ellenbogen if he ever felt like he, and those in the think tank Saturday, held the future of football and perhaps other contact sports in their hands. It’s clear that football is under such fire that its existence could be threatened if the fathers of the game don’t do more for the health and safety of players.

Because, yes Peter, Ellenbogen is going to say the NFL's existence would be threatened if they don't do more for the health and safety of the players. He's the co-chair of an NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, but he will also pronounce the league DOA if he and the rest of his committee don't do more. I simply don't believe Ellenbogen would make it sound like the future of the NFL is in his hands, because that makes the situation sound dire. The NFL disapproves of this. 

“No question it’s important,” Ellenbogen said. “But the unintended consequences of getting rid of contact sports would be an unmitigated disaster. Whatever we do, please do not have the conversation about banning these [contact] sports. The benefits of sports—for physical health, for the benefits of being on a team—far outweigh the risks. I can’t even imagine the consequences if enrollment started declining in sports like football and lacrosse.”

Ah yes, a doctor who sounds like he is carrying water for the NFL. The benefit of sports OVERALL far outweigh the risks, but the risks of individual sports could outweigh the benefits of those sports. It is not as if lacrosse, football or any other sports considered "dangerous" were no longer active sports that kids and adults would have no other way of being in good physical health or exercising in any fashion. Contact sports aren't the only sports which provide good physical benefits to those who participate in sports. There are plenty of other sports that adults and children could play which would provide an opportunity for good physical health. I'm not saying to ban football, but this doctor isn't doing too much to convince me he's not carrying water for the NFL by answering a question this way. Ellenbogen is making it sound like there are no other options for those who want to exercise, other than these contact sports. 

“All losses hurt. Some leave a deep scar. This is one of those.”

—Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith. The Bucs blew a 24-0 lead at Washington and lost, 31-30.

This may not be a good thing for a head coach to say. The last thing a head coach usually wants is for his players to dwell on a difficult loss. Great way to set an example for a young quarterback and Lovie's team by saying a loss left a deep scar. Even if it's true, does Lovie really want his team focusing on the tough loss and not trying to move on to the next game? Kudos to him for being honest, I guess. 

“If they trade me, I’d quit today.”

—Baltimore wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., perhaps nervous that one of the teams most inclined to trade in recent NFL history—the Ravens and their pragmatic GM, Ozzie Newsome—are on the verge of going 1-6 with the trading deadline eight days away. He made his remarks to the team’s website.

I don't believe Smith would retire if he were traded. Still, one can see why the Panthers inexplicably released Smith two seasons ago. It's not that he's a bad guy by any measure, but he can be difficult at times. This is one of those times. He'd rather continue to play on a losing team than move teams halfway through his last season in the NFL in an effort to get a Super Bowl ring. 

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, cornerback, New York Giants. There’s the Matt Cassel factor here—he threw interceptions on three straight series midway through the Giants’ 27-20 win over the Cowboys on Sunday in New Jersey—but credit Rodgers-Cromartie for being in the right place at the right time for two picks totaling 70 return yards and one touchdown.

The important thing to note here is that Peter believes Matt Cassel was terrible in his only start this season, yet later in MMQB Peter will make it seems like the Bills made a mistake by trading Cassel at the beginning of the season and keeping E.J. Manuel. I guess the terrible QB the Bills traded is better than the terrible QB on the Bills' roster. 

GOAT OF THE WEEK

The Houston Texans. Just an awful performance, falling behind 41-0, being outgained at one point 275-0. Time to do the proverbial look-selves-in-the-mirror and the gut-check and, well, all the other clich├ęs.

I can't imagine what could go wrong when the Texans collect every backup quarterback the Patriots didn't want. How can Bill O'Brien fail as a head coach? He is affiliated with the Patriots AND he seemed like such a decisive team leader when the cameras were rolling for "Hard Knocks." It's almost like cameras can lie. 

EJ Manuel, quarterback, Buffalo.

He followed that up with interceptions on the next two series, including one right into the arms of Telvin Smith, who returned it for a touchdown. Great end zone view on the Yahoo stream, with Manuel staring the entire time at the spot he threw to, and Smith baiting and waiting. Easy pick.

Excellent view by that Yahoo stream. Enough about football, Peter wants to talk some more about Yahoo and how great the stream was of the Bills and Jaguars game. You could see, in standard definition, by how much Blake Bortles was overthrowing his receivers. What a country! No, because this was an international broadcast, what a world!

Buffalo’s worst nightmare—first when drafting Manuel in 2013, then when dealing Matt Cassel to Dallas for a 2017 fifth-round pick.

Is this their worst nightmare? Is Matt Cassel playing for the Bills really what would fix their season? Cassel didn't exactly blow the roof off the joint in his one start with the Cowboys behind a pretty good Cowboys offensive line. Is the crappy QB not on the roster really a better option than the crappy QB on the Bills' roster? 

You may not recall this. It’s been almost 10 years. But when the Patriots decided to let Adam Vinatieri go in free agency, the team was criticized in some corners for not ponying up to re-sign the kicker, who’d been the epitome of clutch.

I remember it vividly. Shockingly, someone other than Peter King can recall events that occurred longer than a few years ago. It comes as a huge surprise to Peter this is true. 

• In Vinatieri’s six years (regular-season and post-season) playing for Bill Belichick, he made 82.9 percent of his field goals.

• In Gostkowski’s 10 years playing for Belichick, he has made 87.7 percent of his field goals.

Yeah, but Vinatieri was the epitome of clutch, so that has to count for something, right? 

In the last 10 games against each team in their division, the Patriots are:

• 8-2 against the Jets.

• 8-2 against the Dolphins.

• 8-2 against the Bills.

Again I will ask, is this a product of the Patriots being great or the division not being very good? The AFC South is crap and the Colts have been feeding from that division for quite a few years now, but when criticizing teams like the Seahawks who make the playoffs at 7-9 just remember there may be a 12-4 team that made the playoffs based on competing in a shitty division. 

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

I traveled six miles Friday evening to Barclays Center—what a pleasant surprise, seeing Mr. and Mrs. Brasco, Don and Alissa Banks, there—to watch an Islanders hockey game. Hockey in Brooklyn. What a country.

Rich white people all got to the same hockey game in Brooklyn. Peter left his apartment on the East Side and went to this hockey game. What a country to see someone that Peter knows at a hockey game! What a world! What a planet! What a solar system!

The place wasn’t invented for hockey. I feel for the fans who have to travel from the Island to see the Islanders.

The venue sucked. What a country. 

Bonus: The drinks and food are really good there. Brooklyn Lager on tap, with a slice of square Williamsburg Pizza, terrific crust and fairly light, complete with fresh basil.

The pizza had good crust and fresh basil? So basically it was...pizza? 


I was unsure if this was terrible or not, but now that the Football Coach Jesus says it is, then I guess Greg Hardy's behavior was terrible. I bet Tony Dungy wants to mentor Greg Hardy. That is Dungy's thing. He wants to mentor. Perhaps someone should mentor Dungy on how to win more than one Super Bowl with Peyton Manning. 

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 7:

c. Fantastic throw, catch and lunge for the touchdown by the Jags’ Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson on the first touchdown of Sunday.

Ask Davon House, Blake Bortles can throw the ball just like Aaron Rodgers. Just minus the talent, throwing ability, feel for the pass rush and any other attribute that makes Rodgers so great. 

i. Good CBS graphic in the first half at Foxboro: Pats 46-4 in their previous 50 home games, best 50-game home record in the league in at least the past 50 years.

BREAKING NEWS: The Patriots are a really good team. 

m. The tip-of-the-fingertips catch by Gary Barnidge, Cleveland’s emerging stalwart tight end. (You just might read about him very soon at The MMQB.)

Don't tease us about this, Peter. I bet Barnidge is a free agent after this season and Peter wants to describe how Marvin Demoff (I have no idea if that is Barnidge's agent or not) can structure a compensation package exactly to where the Browns won't be able to compete with it. 

p. Incredible effort by Detroit’s Ziggy Ansah, sprinting 72 yards to catch Adrian Peterson and knock him out of bounds at the 3-yard line. It saved Detroit four points. Instead of Peterson scoring a touchdown, the Vikes settled for a field goal.

This note about great hustle from Ansah will not appear in TMQ, because Ansah is a first round glory boy pick. If it does show up, I'm sure Peter would focus on how Peterson, a highly-drafted glory boy who brags about how great he is, was caught from behind. 

w. The transcendent year Josh Norman is having for Carolina. Did you see the pass-breakup he had near the end of the first half, which looked absolutely like the touchdown the Eagles desperately needed? Norman sold out, flicked it away, and saved four points; the frustrated Eagles settled for a field goal.

Norman made a great play, but he was sort of beaten. He had no choice at the time but to sell out and dive to block the pass away from the Eagles player. 

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 7:

b. Folks online (Twitter, elsewhere) grousing they couldn’t watch the Buffalo-Jacksonville on their big screens. Stop. Just stop. Buffalo-Jacksonville, first of all. Second: It’s bonus football, in a specially created window because it’s a London game. Third: 95 percent of the complainers would never have watched this game anyway. So stop.

I love how Peter writes this. He's really pushing this Yahoo live stream isn't he? Peter wants to write about how popular the game was, while also dismissing the game as not being worth showing on television because it is Buffalo-Jacksonville. Apparently Buffalo-Jacksonville is good enough to be watched by 30 million+ people online, but not good enough to be shown on the television. This is as opposed to all those great games played in London that have been televised. You know, all those games between two teams that don't have winning records.

I actually tried to watch the game, but didn't feel like watching it on my computer. I did not complain about it, but I can understand why some people may have. Peter doesn't think this complaints are worth much though, because 95% (and that's an exact number) would not have watched this game anyway.

k. Brandon LaFell’s hands in his first game back from injury for New England. Four first-half drops. Six for the game.

Brandon LaFell at his worst. Hands of stone. 

n. Valuable and versatile Carolina rookie hurricane Shaq Thompson (knee), who’s been an eye-opening addition, sitting on Sunday night.

q. The Bills’ inactive list for Sunday: the starting quarterback (Tyrod Taylor), two starting-caliber wideouts (Sammy Watkins, Percy Harvin), one of the best defensive tackles in football (Kyle Williams), a starting offensive tackle (Seantrel Henderson), and an emerging running back (Karlos Williams).

Players get hurt. This is why an 18 game schedule would never work. I'm not sure the playoffs would be much fun to watch if the NFL went to an 18 game schedule. 

y. Not to harp on this stat,

Peter will now harp on this stat. As soon as he says he doesn't want to or won't do something, he tends to do that exact thing. 

but there’s a symmetry to the Colts in the Pagano/Luck Era now: Indy is 20-20 in games outside the division, including playoffs.

I mean, it was just last year that Peter was talking about what a great coach Chuck Pagano is and all of that. Now Peter is pointing out how the Colts can't beat teams that aren't in their division. Life comes at you fast. 

Though his production has plummeted, he’s gotten paid. In his three post-Vikings seasons, Harvin has been paid $31.5 million. Comparing his production as a Viking to his production with the Seahawks, Jets and Bills:

• Vikings (54 games): 387 touches from scrimmage, 10.3 yards per touch, 24 touchdowns … 27.9 yards per kick return, five touchdowns.

• Seahawks, Jets, Bills (19 games): 109 touches from scrimmage, 8.7 yards per touch, three touchdowns … 24.8 yards per kick return, no touchdowns.

He's the Josh Freeman of wide receivers. Of course, Peter won't harp on Harvin's lack of production as he did for Freeman's lack of production because Harvin didn't help to get Peter's buddy fired. 

8. I think if you believe Sunday was the end of the Jets for this season, after the Patriots made sure all is back to normal in the AFC East with a home win over New York, consider these points:

I don't know if anyone thought this was the end of the Jets for the season. I'm not sure why Peter is writing this. 

• The Jets are 4-2.

• In the next seven weeks, they play teams with a combined record of 18-28: at Oakland (3-3), Jacksonville (2-5), Buffalo (3-4), at Houston (2-5), Miami (3-3), at the Giants (4-3), and Tennessee (1-5).

Tell me why it’s unlikely the Jets could be 10-3 entering the final three games of the season: a fascinating Week 15 Saturday night game at Dallas (with Tony Romo, presumably, back), the Patriots at home two days after Christmas, and a nippy affair at Buffalo three days into 2016. I’m just saying I certainly don't consider the AFC East race to be wide open, but it might not be over yet.

Peter, you are the one who is talking about how dominant the Patriots have been in their division. Not many other people are claiming the AFC race is over. You are countering an argument that I'm not sure many people are making. 

10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:

g. RIP Cory Wells, one of the lead singers of Three Dog Night. I show my age here, but I loved that band. “Shambala” and “Mama Told Me Not To Com,” were two of Wells’ best.

"Mama Told Me Not to Com" was the first song to encourage people to stay off the Internet. It's the anti-technology song to end all anti-technology songs. Mama told him not to com, but he logged on anyway. Probably to watch the Buffalo-Jacksonville live stream. 

k. Did you see the Georgia Tech player, waving teammates away from the loose ball that would become a return for the winning touchdown of Florida State-Georgia Tech? Good thing at least one Yellow Jacket paid no attention. Coaches: Don’t assume your players know all the rules. 

NFL players don't know the rules. There is evidence the officials in the NFL don't know the rules. So this doesn't surprise me the players in college and the NFL may not know the rules. 

m. Beernerdness: Had a Sidewinder Southwest Pale Ale (Revolver Brewing, Granbury, Texas), made with water from an aquifer on the property of the brewery—and a hint of agave, which is a first for me in a beer, I think—and really enjoyed it.

Peter drank a pale ale! This was a beer that didn't require a fruit or anything like a slice of an orange in it to taste good! This is progress!

n. Hockey’s a strange game. The Devils lost their first four games, 3-1, 5-3, 3-1 and 2-1. In the past week, they won their next four: 2-1, 3-2, 5-4 and 4-2.

It's crazy that one result for a team doesn't mean that team will have the result in every single game. How amazing that professional sports teams will play well or play poorly over short stretches of the season. What a country. Only in hockey. 

The Adieu Haiku

The byes wreak havoc.
No Bengals, Packers, Broncos.
Week seven: quite meh.

There are six undefeated teams, but none of the undefeated teams were interesting enough for Peter. Much like the Adieu Haiku, Week 7 was "meh." In fact, the best thing about the week was the Yahoo live stream. What a great success for the NFL! Has Peter mentioned what a great success it was? He really enjoyed watching it in his apartment on the East Side of Manhattan.

Monday, October 26, 2015

0 comments Rob Rossi Has Some Strong Opinions Not Necessarily Supported by Facts or His Own Opinion

The Pittsburgh Pirates lost to the Chicago Cubs in the terrible, no-good one game Wild Card playoff. Rob Rossi thinks this is an important offseason for the Pirates, but he also thinks some of the Pirates best players are probably at-fault for this one game playoff loss. Rob Rossi states Gerrit Cole is not good enough and Andrew McCutchen has too many earrings. His takes are all overreactions and a sad attempt to simply blame someone, ANYONE, for the Pirates failings in the ridiculous one game Wild Card playoff.

I'll start first with Rossi's issues about Gerrit Cole just not being good enough for the Pirates. He's a bum and the city of Pittsburgh deserves much than him.

More winning. Less jawing. And better pitching.

The Pirates need all of that in the biggest games from Gerrit Cole. 

While admitting that Gerrit Cole didn't pitch his best against the Cubs, let's also understand that the Pirates scored zero runs. Gerrit Cole could have thrown a nine inning perfect game and the Pirates still would not have beaten the Cubs without the game going to extra innings. So blame Cole, but also understand the Pirates' batters didn't score any runs for Cole. He can't win a game if his offense doesn't score a run.

Cole was horrendous and the reason the Pirates never were in position to win a National League wild-card game they lost to the Chicago Cubs, 4-0.

He needed to stick around for more than five innings.

He needed to not allow a first-inning run, then a two-run homer in the third and a solo shot in the fifth.

He needed more first-pitch strikes. 

Cole could have stuck around for nine innings, allowed zero home runs, and thrown a first-pitch strike to every single better he faced. It wouldn't have mattered because Jake Arrieta gave up zero runs too. 

No, the Pirates didn't go out there and give it to the Cubs. Cole did, though.

His margin for error was not slim. It was none. 

And of course, because his margin for error was none then it is Cole's fault the Pirates lost the one game Wild Card playoff. The fact Cole didn't pitch well was unfortunate. The issue is that even if Cole pitched extraordinarily, it still wouldn't have even mattered. The Pirates were going to lose the game because they couldn't score runs against Jake Arrieta. The fact Gerrit Cole could have given up zero runs and pitched nine innings, yet still not win the game, reflects on his team as much as giving up four runs in five innings reflects on him. 

As soon as he gave up that first run, the Pirates were done. Cole gave up that first run before he recorded an out. 

Doesn't this say something about the Pirates hitters as well? If Cole gives up one run and the Pirates have lost, is it really his fault the Pirates lost because he gave up a run? 

Another postseason blacked-out crowd would have been better off had Cole never stepped onto the mound. Or if ceremonial first-pitcher Bob Walk had stayed on the mound. 

Walk's career postseason record: 1-4, 4.50 ERA, 1.143 WHIP.
Cole's career postseason record: 1-2, 3.94 ERA, 0.875 WHIP.

Seems like Walk wasn't exactly much better than Cole has been in the postseason.

Aces flip the switch. Aces don't flip out.

Cole isn't an ace. He's the Pirates' best starting pitcher. 

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHH! Tough burn there. Gerrit Cole is only the best pitcher on a team of elite baseball players. That must suck.

There is a big difference. 

A huge difference. The difference being a pitcher isn't considered an ace until he wins a big game and the media anoints him an "ace." Cole was 19-8 this season with 208 innings over 32 starts with a 1.091 WHIP, 2.66 ERA and ERA+ of 148. I don't know, I think I would consider that to be an ace. 

Had the Pirates an ace, they might have played more baseball each of these last three Octobers.

An ace, St. Louis' Adam Wainwright, took them out two years ago.

An ace, San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner, took them out last year.

An ace, Chicago's Jake Arrieta, just took them out again. 

I'm guessing that Rob Rossi knows baseball is a team game. What's funny is the second article I post here from Rossi is where he tears into the Pirates batting lineup for not scoring enough runs in the postseason. So it's Cole's fault that Wainwright, Bumgarner and Arrieta have shut the Pirates out in the postseason over the last three years? The Pirates keep running into really hot pitchers who are able to shut them out. But again, it's more simple to blame Gerrit Cole AND blame the Pirates batting lineup in separate articles. That way no reader gets confused and may think pushing blame on to one person is ridiculous and sees through Rossi's act. His "act" being that he individually blames Gerrit Cole for the Pirates loss in the one game Wild Card playoff, while also blaming the Pirates batting lineup for not scoring enough runs. He has to separate them out so it's harder to see the idiocy of individually blaming Cole.

The Pirates have scored one run in their past three postseason games. Two of those were wild-card contests. The other was on the road in a decisive Game 5 of the division series. 

And of course, this is probably Gerrit Cole's fault too. How come Gerrit Cole can't pitch every playoff game and throw a shutout in every game? He's not an ace if he can't do this. 

Top-end talent is what plays when a season is on the line, and the Pirates aren't competitive at postseason baseball's most important position. 

Which for the purposes of this column is starting pitching. In his next column, Rossi will claim the most important position in baseball is first base, which is why he advocates for the Pirates to trade for a power-hitting first baseman so they can finally win a playoff series and get to the World Series. What's important for the Pirates to succeed will change depending on the point Rossi wants to prove. 

That would be starting pitching.

The Giants.

The Cardinals.

The Dodgers.

The Cubs.

Those clubs can throw aces. Right now. 

Well, the Giants can't throw aces right now because they aren't in the playoffs. Regardless if the Pirates can throw a string of Hall of Famers at opposing teams or a string of pitchers who haven't pitched above Triple-A, it doesn't matter as long as the Pirates offense can't score runs. 

Cole might become one. Cole probably will become one.

Rob Rossi earlier in this column: 

Aces flip the switch. Aces don't flip out.

Cole isn't an ace.

So what's the suggestion by Rossi to fix this? Gerrit Cole isn't an ace, but will probably become one. So he's not good enough for the Pirates right now? What if he turns into an ace next year, you know, since he's probably going to end up being an ace and all? Will he be good enough for the Pirates at that point?

The ridiculousness of saying Cole is not an ace, so the Pirates need to find an ace so they can win a playoff series and then writing, "Cole will probably become an ace" can not be understated. It's a poorly-thought out and constructed column designed only to get a reaction. In that aspect, Rob Rossi has had great success.

He's 25 and has pitched fewer than three full seasons.

He'll be great. 

Great or just the Pirates best pitcher? Because THERE'S A DIFFERENCE!

He just might not be great enough in time for the Pirates to win while Andrew McCutchen is still great. 

Oh by the way, for the purposes of this column Andrew McCutchen IS great. In the next column Rossi writes, McCutchen will no longer be great and he's a guy who needs to start delivering in the postseason. Again, Rossi takes whatever position he needs to take at that very moment without a single thought of how he contradicts himself over time. 

Or even while McCutchen is still a Pirate.

And that's a big problem. 

McCutchen is a free agent after the 2018 season. I have a feeling Cole will be considered an "ace" at that point, but what good is all of this if the Pirates can't score runs? Gerrit Cole may not have been the pitcher for the Pirates that Arrieta was for the Cubs this year, but putting blame on him for the offense's failures is ridiculous. Even if Cole had pitched a perfect nine innings the Pirates still couldn't have beaten Arrieta and the Cubs. 

Rossi then continues writing his Plaschke-esque one sentence paragraphs (perhaps Plaschke is his idol? They seem to have the same reactionary "let's make a huge issue where there isn't one" type of writing style when the local team fails) where he provides some advice to Neal Huntington about the Pirates "reboot" this offseason. Rossi is apparently bothered by the earrings that Andrew McCutchen wears and thinks he's not clutchy.

So no, it won't be easy. But this is what Huntington should do between now and next Opening Day:

• Re-sign J.A. Happ to replace A.J. Burnett as the No. 3 starter. 

Gerrit Cole isn't good enough for the Pirates, but paying up for a 33 year old starter with a career ERA of 4.13, a guy who has never thrown for more than 172 innings in a season (and did it this year in his contract year...that NEVER happens), and has a career WHIP of 1.367 is just a brilliant idea. How could re-signing a career 4th or 5th starter as the Pirates 3rd starter after he has had a career year EVER be a bad idea? There are so many red flags around J.A. Happ in my mind, but I'm not the expert that Rob Rossi is. Gerrit Cole is just the Pirates best pitcher, while J.A. Happ is a third starter. 

• Trade closer Mark Melancon to Anaheim for Hector Santiago, who can become the fourth starter. 

Who give a fuck if the Angels want to do this trade or not? Just fucking do it without the Angels approval. Get Rob Manfred on the phone to approve the trade now. 

• Remind every American League club that Pedro Alvarez's big bat is back. 

Because when requesting the Pirates find more offense, it's good to trade a player with a "big bat" that is still under team control until after the 2017 season. 

"The Pirates need more offense! Trade one of their best home run hitters!"

If only Alvarez could handle a corner infield position.

If only the National League would adopt the designated-hitter rule. 

Two straight one sentence paragraphs. It's not totally infuriating, but is definitely slightly infuriating to me. Don't write like a seven year old writes. Try writing full paragraphs.

If only Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band would get back on the road. 

A baseball sportswriters who loves Bruce Springsteen? I don't believe it at all. Can this be true? Baseball sportswriters rarely love Bruce Springsteen. 

The Pirates can't keep dancing in the dark when it comes to Alvarez. 

GET IT? IT'S A BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN SONG REFERENCE SLIPPED COVERTLY INTO A TAKE ABOUT WHAT A WORTHLESS FIELDER PEDRO ALVAREZ IS! THIS IS PROFESSIONAL SPORTSWRITING PEOPLE, PLEASE STEP BACK!

He can't field, but the light is back on when it comes to his power. 

If only there were a Journey reference in this column I could say if Alvarez goes to San Francisco and hits poorly "When the lights go down in the city and sun shines on the bay" is the time when Alvarez joined the Giants.  

An excellent home run-to-fly ball ratio (HR/FB) is at or above 20 percent. Alvarez is 22.5 percent for his career, and he was 10 percent better than that this past season. 

Well that's certainly not fluky at all. I'm sure Alvarez will continue to hit 10% better than his career average for the rest of his career. American League teams are stupid though. I'm sure they don't care about silly things like "statistics" or the idea of "regression." 

The return might not be great, but Huntington should be able to move Alvarez to an AL peer whose need is a DH. 

Again, just force an AL team to trade for him. Might as well ask Rob Manfred to force this trade through while you are on the phone with him about forcing through the Hector Santiago trade. 

Move on to the answer for the question people are starting to ask. 

"People" being defined as "Rob Rossi and select sports radio callers who are idiots." Two people ask the question and all of a sudden "people" are starting to ask questions. 

Why isn't Andrew McCutchen an MVP-caliber player in the postseason? 

Isn't this article about how the Pirates don't have good hitters in the lineup and they need to improve the pitching staff and their hitting? Well, there is your answer why McCutchen might not hit well in smaller sample sizes against better teams. McCutchen is hitting .321/.441/.357 for his career in the postseason by the way. 

No home runs.

No RBIs.

No big moments. 

He does have six at-bats in 34 plate appearances. His playoff walk rate is 17.6%, while his career walk rate (with a much larger sample of course) is 12.1%. It seems like he either has a better eye in the postseason or he's not getting a ton to hit when he comes up to the plate. 

Criticism of his underwhelming Octobers is fair, deserved and no different than what is directed at the Penguins' Sidney Crosby and the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger. 

Sure, criticize him for his lack of power. It makes sense, but he's still getting on-base. He's just not hitting for power. 

Crosby owns a championship ring.

Roethlisberger owns two championship rings.

McCutchen owns earrings. 

It may be best to go back in time and just delete these three sentences/paragraphs (for Rob Rossi, a sentence is a paragraph apparently), because this is an embarrassment. Andrew McCutchen is by all accounts a really nice guy and Rossi has to make a snide comment about him having "earrings" as opposed to championship rings. What a joke. 

The Pirates have jumped overboard with all their “Ps.”

Pride is great.

Passion is wonderful.

Postseason is fun.

Passable is old. 

And it's all Gerrit Cole's fault! Wait, this isn't the column where Cole is getting blamed? 
(Rossi checks his notes) 

Oh yeah, it's all Andrew McCutchen's fault because he hasn't produced big moments, big hits and has earrings. Well, it's not really his fault, but for the sake of argument and the need for attention let's pretend that it is.

That last “P” word is the best adjective to describe the first basemen and cleanup hitters who have played with McCutchen. 

And this obviously has nothing to do with the Pirates scoring 1 run in their last three postseason games nor does it have anything to do with why Andrew McCutchen hasn't produced big moments. It seems that Rossi's reasoning for the Pirates struggles revolves entirely around the lineup, yet he feels the need to blame individuals because that's what gets the attention. 

As evidence, the prosecution points to the Pirates' lineup for this year's National League wild-card game.

Role player Sean Rodriguez started at first base. Free swinger Starling Marte batted fourth. 

And McCutchen only went 2-4 in the Wild Card game. If he had only hit five home runs, then the Pirates could have won the game and Gerrit Cole wouldn't be such a terrible pitcher. Cole would have gotten a win and become an ace. Andrew McCutchen is holding back Gerrit Cole's development as an ace for the Pirates. 

But, members of the jury, let's not stop at the latest wild-card lineup. 

I don't know why Rossi is doing a "fake attorney" bit, but I'm not playing along. 

In 2014, the Pirates placed Gabby Sanchez at first and Russell Martin in the cleanup spot.

In 2013, Justin Morneau filled both roles. 

Again, perhaps focus more on this and less on Cole and McCutchen's "struggles" in the postseason. It seems the reason for the Pirates not winning a playoff series can be found when looking at McCutchen's supporting cast. 

The prosecution would also like to introduce as evidence a couple of Chicago Cubs from Wednesday night: Kris Bryant, the No. 3 hitter, and behind him, first baseman Anthony Rizzo.


Why, yes, that 1-2 punch in the 3-4 holes did seem to rattle Gerrit Cole after the Cubs' leadoff hitter stole second base and scored in the first inning. 

Yes, Gerrit Cole was so rattled that in 8 plate appearances in the game Rizzo and Bryant managed to go 0-7 with a walk (and yes, I know other Pirates pitchers faced Rizzo and Bryant, but the point is Rossi is introducing these two players as evidence of what "real" #3 and #4 hitters are and they didn't hit as well as McCutchen did in the one game Wild Card playoff). I mean, Cole was scared shitless of these two players. Why can't the Pirates find a #3 hitter and #4 hitter like these two who come up big by not getting a single hit in the one game Wild Card? Instead, the Pirates are stuck with mediocre-ass Andrew McCutchen who struggles at the plate, going 2-4 in the one game Wild Card. 

“Everybody would like to have an anchor in the middle of their lineup in these type of games,” manager Clint Hurdle said Wednesday night. 

But why can't the Pirates just go find guys like this? It should be easy to do. 

They've managed to come this far without answers to two big questions that have been asked at the start, during and at the end of every season since McCutchen arrived.

Who's on first?

Who's batting fourth? 

Notice how this column went quietly from "Why can't McCutchen come up big?" to "Why aren't the players around McCutchen good enough?" Again, Rossi knows blaming McCutchen for not coming up big is a little silly, but he needs to get the attention comments about McCutchen's earrings will provide. 

Huntington has called this offseason “big.” He's underselling it.

It's huge.

Massive. Large. Mammoth. 

It all means about the same thing. They are called "synonyms" and I would think a J-school class probably discussed this at some point. Perhaps Rob Rossi was too busy checking out a classmates' earrings and was distracted during this portion of the lecture.

The Pirates could look to trade with a major league team, but all the best first basemen are going to cost at least a top prospect and probably two.

Probably. 

You are underselling it. It's potentially, perhaps even possibly. 

Huntington could always dangle Marte or Gregory Polanco. 

Oh yes, dangle the free-swinging Starling Marte. He's not good enough for the Pirates, but he's good enough to get a great first baseman back in return through a trade. 

And he should, presuming the Pirates' don't win the rights to Park. Josh Harrison can step into one of the corner outfield spots immediately. 

This is the same Josh Harrison who has slashed .284/.318/.417 with 24 home runs in 1470 at-bats during his career. In the search for a cleanup hitter, it's best to replace a guy who hit 19 home runs last year with a guy who 4 home runs last year. That'll fix everything.

The Pirates have scored two runs in their past four postseason games, all losses.

McCutchen was 1 for 15 with a walk in those games.

He needs protection behind him, not two dreamers in front of him. 

I mean, Josh Harrison could very well be that corner outfielder the Pirates are looking for. Where will he fit in the lineup? Nowhere that Rob Rossi states needs help, because he can't hit cleanup nor can he play first base, but dangle Starling Marte, lose a few home runs in the outfield and then get that great power hitting first baseman the Pirates need so badly. I mean, this great hitting first baseman would have to hit 15 more home runs than Pedro Alvarez hit last year to make up for the loss of Alvarez and Marte (replacing Marte with Harrison in the outfield, 15 home runs are left on the table and then the Pirates trade Alvarez...therefore to replace the power production of Marte and Alvarez the new first baseman would have to hit 15 more home runs than Alvarez did), but I'm sure that won't be an issue. First basemen who hit 40+ homers are easy to find, right? 

Protection is always costly.

Nobody ever regretted paying that cost, though. 

"Nobody" ever regretted paying that cost? You may want to check with the Padres before making this statement. I'm pretty sure they are one of a few teams who have regretted paying for lineup protection. 

Huntington shouldn't hesitate to invest in what remains of McCutchen's prime.

Whatever the cost, it's worth it for the Pirates finally to find that first baseman who can bat fourth. 

And then, once the Pirates find a first baseman who can bat cleanup, this means Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen will no longer be useless bums. Cole will magically turn into an ace and McCutchen will start producing magic moments. It's weird how their teammates improvement will make them individually seen as better baseball players. 

Then let's see what their franchise player can do in a fourth postseason.

He'll probably just hit singles and spend his time on the bench looking online for earrings at fancy jewelry shops in the Pittsburgh area. You know how McCutchen do.

Friday, October 23, 2015

4 comments Gregg Participates in Using the Same Hyper Specificity of Numbers He Criticizes Others for Using

In the comments of the TMQ post for last week some of us were trying to guess what the topic would be for this week's TMQ. It's not hard to guess, since he essentially just rotates a few topics on a weekly basis. Yet, I was still wrong. I thought TMQ would be about concussions, since another high school football player died over the past week. I was wrong. Gregg has repeated a different topic in this TMQ. It's the annual, "Look at how many points are being scored" TMQ, followed by the later season "I can't believe the defenses caught up with the offense" TMQ. So Gregg (again) talks about how many points are being scored in college and NFL football these days. He talks about it on a smaller level every week, much like he talks about the same topics every week in TMQ, but this week he is writing more than a paragraph about how pass-wacky and points-crazy football has become.

The football scoreboard won’t stop spinning.

Says Gregg Easterbrook every single year in TMQ.

So far this season, N.F.L. games are averaging 46.6 total points. That’s up from 45.2 points per game in 2014 and 41.2 points per game a decade ago.

Gregg used to write an entire TMQ dedicated to hyper specificity and how numbers shouldn't be rounded out to too many decimal points. For example, he likes to mock the time difference in an athlete who runs a 4.39 and 4.32 40-yard dash. He'll often write things like, "How do they know the difference in 0.07 seconds?" or write something sarcastic about how the 40-yard dash should be 4.39614 seconds. Gregg also likes to make fun of statistics that might say an NBA team hits a three-point shot every possession, with him saying, "How do you go down the floor 0.6 times?" and believing himself to be the smartest and most clever human on the planet for being snarky about this.

Well, knowing that...I have to ask how the fuck an NFL game scan feature 46.6 points? Is there a 0.6 field goal or an extra 0.6 point that I'm not aware of? Are certain touchdowns only worth a percentage of 6 points?

This is typical Gregg Easterbrook. He goes to great lengths to criticize hyper specificity in the use of statistics, yet has no issue with using hyper specificity himself when using statistics. The "unsophisticated" will laugh at his jokes about an athlete running a 4.562874 second 40-yard dash, but he hopes they won't notice that Gregg uses the same types of statistics he likes to criticize in TMQ. Gregg is special, so he can talk about an NFL game featuring 46.6 total points, while mocking another writer for claiming an NBA team hits a three-point shot every 3.6 possession. The rules, as written by Gregg Easterbrook, do not apply to Gregg Easterbrook.

Big-time college football, where Baylor and West Virginia just combined for 100 points, spins the scoreboard faster: 27 Division I programs are averaging more points per game than the highest-scoring N.F.L. club, the Patriots at 36.6.

HOW CAN AN NFL TEAM SCORE 36.6 POINTS IN A GAME? I'M GREGG EASTERBROOK AND I LIKE TO CRITICIZE OTHERS FOR THE THINGS THAT I MYSELF DO. 

One-hundred twenty-four Division I programs — that’s 97 percent — are averaging more points per game than the lowest-scoring N.F.L. team, the 49ers. North Texas, Old Dominion, Vanderbilt, Army, the Roadrunners of the University of Texas at San Antonio: All score more than the Niners.

What a coincidence! 96.8%, make that 97%, of NFL teams are also scoring more points per game than the lowest scoring NFL team. That's so weird isn't it? It's almost like college teams score more points, but the percentage of teams that score more than the 49ers doesn't change regardless of whether that team is in the NFL or Division I NCAA.

You know Gregg didn't look up the percentage of NFL teams that score more than the 49ers and was very proud of himself when he saw the 97% number that showed how many Division I teams score more points than the lowest scoring NFL team. It means SO MUCH and proves how high-scoring college football is. He just forgot to look at the percentage of NFL teams who are also outscoring the 49ers. Whoops!

The fad for hurry-up tactics and rules changes designed to encourage pass completions are some of the reasons. But there’s an often overlooked factor: New safety rules favor offense.

This is literally one of the most cited reasons for why NFL offensive scoring is at an all-time high. Defensive players and other NFL analysts have stated over and over and over and over again that the NFL has taken steps to protect offensive players and it makes it more difficult for defensive players to do their job. Yes, the new rule changes to encourage completions are a reason for increased offense as well, but the fact the safety rules favor the offense is also often cited as a reason also. Perhaps Gregg believes if he just says this is an overlooked factor then it will suddenly become true and he won't be wrong. 

The most common deliberate helmet-to-helmet hit was by a safety against a receiver on a crossing pattern; a linebacker using his helmet as a weapon against a ball carrier was second-most common.

Now this form of contact is illegal, which benefits offense; especially, assisting the short-passing tactics that have proliferated.

Right. The short-passing tactics have proliferated because of the new rules. Hence, the new safety rules that favor the offense is not an overlooked factor in the increased offense. 

Sunday night at Indianapolis, the Patriots’ Julian Edelman repeatedly ran “low crossers,” short patterns directly in front of Tom Brady, who targeted 10 throws Edelman’s way.

One of the overlooked reasons why the Patriots are so good on offense is that Julian Edelman finds a way to get open on these short crossing patterns. No one ever thought of this before I broached this subject right now. 

Only once on these 10 targets was Edelman hit in the helmet. A decade ago, he would have absorbed several deliberate helmet-to-helmet impacts when prancing over the middle in this fashion; a generation ago, he would have been drilled in the head or the back even after an incompletion sailed past.

Right. NFL receivers aren't as afraid to run a route over the middle of the field, which means the middle of the field becomes more open in the passing game, which means there will be more scoring, which means offense will increase, and because this is the widely known result then the new safety rules that favor the offense is not overlooked. 

The rules need to become stricter still, especially at the high school level, where the most football is played.

But football’s safety initiatives are in almost every case a boon to the offense. Let the scoreboard spin!

But who knew the new safety rules were having such an effect on scoring? It's such an overlooked factor!

Sweet Play of the Week. Denver’s Aqib Talib sprinted 63 yards for an interception return touchdown at Cleveland, the Broncos’ third pick-six of the young season. Not only was the play sweet — the Broncos’ defense has allowed nine touchdowns while scoring four, a net of just five touchdowns for the opposition in six games. Denver’s No. 2 overall defensive ranking is the key to the Broncos’ 6-0 start.

Is this the highly-drafted, highly-paid glory boy Aqib Talib that returned this interception for a touchdown? Interesting how Gregg leaves off the draft position of Talib. We know Gregg wouldn't leave off the draft position of Talib or any of the other members of the Broncos defense if they were lowly-drafted or undrafted players. The Broncos defense starts four 1st round picks and a 2nd round pick, while having two 1st round picks as backups. Naturally, Gregg leaves out that the No. 2 overall defense in the NFL has six 1st round picks making a contribution to the team. 

Later in this TMQ, Gregg will mention the draft position of the Patriots offensive players, but when he doesn't have a point to prove about how great undrafted players are, then Gregg feels it isn't necessary to note the draft position of a team's offensive/defensive unit.

But Peyton Manning’s fade is accelerating. He has seven touchdown passes versus 10 interceptions, a ratio that is not sustainable.

No, this ratio is absolutely sustainable. The ratio isn't sustainable if the Broncos want to keep winning football games, but overall, this ratio of throwing more interceptions than touchdown is sustainable. Manning could keep doing this. 

He’s been “throwing with his body,” a bad sign.

Gregg must have read this somewhere and then repeated it here in order to make it seem like he knew what he was talking about. This is too much like analysis for me to believe Gregg thought of this himself. 

In overtime at Cleveland, Manning tossed the ball directly to the wonderfully named Browns linebacker Barkevious Mingo, as if Mingo were running the pattern.

And what round was Barkevious Mingo drafted in? The first round. This would be relevant if Mingo was undrafted or was considered "unwanted" by Gregg, but because he was drafted in the 1st round, Gregg fails to mention this little fact. Only undrafted players get their draft position noted, because Gregg wants his readers to believe undrafted players produce more than highly-drafted players produce.

Sour Recurring Play of the Week. A week ago versus Cincinnati, Seattle’s vaunted Legion of Boom secondary twice simply ignored a tight end running straight up the field, leaving him uncovered for a touchdown. Now it’s Seahawks 23, Panthers 20 with 36 seconds remaining, Carolina ball on the Seattle 26, Panthers out of timeouts. Carolina tight end Greg Olsen runs straight up the field, the “seam” route on which a good tight end is most dangerous.

This is the route in which a good tight end is most dangerous. Don't be confused when Gregg claims a good tight end is most dangerous when lined up to the far side of the field with single coverage on him. In that situation, a good tight end is most dangerous regardless of the route he runs. So whatever route that a good tight end runs from whatever position on/off the line of scrimmage that results in a touchdown is the route in which a good tight end is most dangerous. It changes based on what point Gregg is trying to prove at that very moment. 

No Seattle defender so much as attempted to cover Olsen, who caught the winning pass. The highly hyped Seattle secondary stars Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas were yelling and gesturing at each other about who was to blame before the play was even over.

I laugh a little bit at the Seahawks blaming coaching (and anyone but themselves) for the loss, but it seems there were two play calls given to the Seahawks defenders, so that's probably why Thomas and Sherman were gesturing to each other. The crowd noise prevented the Seahawks from getting the correct play call, so that's the reason for the confusion. One could ask how the Panthers got a play call in (late as it may be) and the Seahawks couldn't manage to do the same at home, but the truth is Thomas and Sherman were blaming each other because they didn't know at that point there had been two defensive plays called. So they really both believed the other screwed up.

This is a good example of what I've said on repeat, which is that defensive players can't just freelance like Gregg thinks they can. A defensive player can't just run back into zone coverage when the defensive called for is man coverage, despite what Gregg will claim when he criticizes a defender for not "covering" the offensive player. Gregg doesn't seem to understand defensive players have to all work in concert with each other based on the play call or else the defense will be extra shitty.

Stretching back to the Super Bowl, the Seahawks, whose trademark is monster defense, have been unable to hold fourth-quarter leads in five of their last seven outings. Since kickoff of the Super Bowl, Seattle is minus-48 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.

The Seahawks have been traditionally very good at holding leads late in the game, so sometimes the balance shifts back the other way. Perhaps that is what is being seen now. 

As for the Colts play — ye gods. Indianapolis lined up to punt, then nine guys shifted far wide in a variation of the swinging-gate PAT look. In the center of the field were the snapper and safety Colt Anderson.

Doesn't Gregg mean "undrafted, unwanted safety Colt Anderson"? I guess not. 

The whole point of a swinging gate is if the defense doesn’t put enough guys in front of the snapper, then run straight ahead; if the defense puts enough guys in front of the snapper, then pitch sideways where blockers exceed defenders. New England positioned four guys in front of the snapper, meaning one to block four. Yet the Colts chose the up-the-middle move: instant loss of yardage.

You just can't trust undrafted players to make smart decisions in important situations like this. Doesn't Gregg know this?

Not clear what, if anything, the Colts were thinking. Sour.

Griff Whalen went to Stanford and Colt Anderson went to Montana, so these players from non-football factories just don't know how to act in tough situations. It's not their fault, but if they were from football factory schools then they may have a better idea of how to think better in tight games against elite competition. 

Stats of the Week. The Panthers are on a 9-0 streak in the regular season.

I'm glad he clarified "regular season" or else everyone would have thought the Panthers won the Super Bowl last year. 

BOLO of the Week. All units, all units, be on the lookout for defensive lineman Marcell Dareus, accused of football grand larceny. Just before the season, he signed a contract with $60 million guaranteed; so far he has one sack.

A couple of things: 

1. Dareus does get sacks, but it's not his entire job as a DT or DE in a 3-4 defense. He does other things to earn his contract. 

2. Dareus states that he has been dropped back into coverage a lot and hasn't had the chances to get sacks. Whether it is true or not, I'm not sure, but it's hard to get sacks as a DT/DE if you are being dropped back into coverage rather than consistently rushing the quarterback.

What Makes Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders Hill Fly? The tiny drones that are driving everyone crazy can float on four downward-facing fans because their payloads, typically a camera and transmitter, weigh so little. In Marvel’s Avengers movies, S.H.I.E.L.D. has a flying aircraft carrier that uses four downward-facing fans. How big would the fans need to be to lift an actual aircraft carrier?

TMQ is shorter this year and Gregg still has to kill space. Unbelievably believable. 

Assume S.H.I.E.L.D. engineers used minimum-weight criteria to trim the helicarrier weight to 50,000 tons. Assume that the fans themselves have no mass, generate no drag, and that their power source is weightless — maybe they run on arc reactors. How big would four downward-facing fans need to be to lift 50,000 tons? Tweet your calculation to @EasterbrookG.

They would need to be as big as Gregg's ego multiplied by how many times Gregg has misled or lied to his readers. That's some big fans. 

Hire an Orangutan. Steve Spurrier just resigned as South Carolina coach: The boosters were in an uproar because the Gamecocks were 2-4. 

This is what I talk about when I say Gregg misleads his readers. The way Gregg writes this sentence indicates that Spurrier resigned because the boosters were in an uproar, when this isn't entirely the truth. Spurrier was 70 years old, so he wasn't going to be coaching for much longer anyway. I don't know, and Gregg doesn't know, if the boosters being in an uproar caused his resignation. Everything I've read says this isn't true, especially since Spurrier is one of the most successful coaches in South Carolina history. Gregg tries to tie the boosters in with Spurrier's resignation when I don't think this is the truth.

Steve Sarkisian just got the heave-ho at U.S.C.: He’d appeared in public seeming to be drunk, but the real issue may be that boosters were in an uproar over the Trojans merely being 12-6 with the whistle around his neck.

No Gregg, the real issue is that Steve Sarkisian has a really bad drinking problem and became an embarrassment to the university. So he got fired for bringing embarrassment to the school and now he is allowed time to face the severe drinking problem he seems to have. I really doubt USC fired Sarkisian because of his 12-6 more than they fired him because he seems to be an alcoholic. Also, "the real issue may be...," is some mealy-mouth language that Gregg would normally criticize when seen in the writing of others. 

These three coaching changes share in common what T.M.Q. calls the Orangutan Theory of Division 1: that football-factory programs have such incredible built-in advantages in recruiting power and gimmick schedules that an orangutan should be able to lead one to bowl eligibility.

Except it doesn't work that way at all. Before hiring Steve Spurrier, South Carolina had a problem keeping elite talent in state, had 10 winning seasons since 1980 and had won 10 games or more once in the history of the program. These so-called football factory teams have an advantage in money, but that doesn't always translate to success on the field without the right players and coach. 

Not only do the top recruits flock to prestige programs like South Carolina and U.S.C., but they also play under gimmick conditions...Such schedules are as if the Denver Broncos played twice as many games at home as away, and one of the home games was against an Arena League team.

Right, but if every NFL team played an Arena League team? Then the playing field would be somewhat leveled. I'm not defending how college teams schedule, but it's important to know that recruits don't just flock to a school. Elite recruits didn't flock to South Carolina before Steve Spurrier was there. Gregg remembers it that way now, because he's used to how things are with Steve Spurrier as the head coach, but it's not always been that way. 

In the wake of the Spurrier and Sarkisian departures, the sports world — “SportsCenter,” Sports Illustrated, ESPN’s “College GameDay” — wondered when glory would return to these programs. Unless I missed it, not a word was said about the educational goals that are the ostensible purpose of the universities in question.

That's because it is a show called "SportsCenter" and "College GameDay" and a magazine called "Sports Illustrated." If these shows were called "AcademicCenter" or "College Educational GoalsDay" or "Academics Illustrated" then Gregg would have a point. They aren't called that, so Gregg has no point. These shows and this magazine are about sports. For better or worse, discussing the academic goals of the university is not a part of the discussion. Sports are what the discussion on these shows and in this magazine revolves around. 

Spurrier’s team had a 51 percent graduation rate, including a 46 percent rate for African-Americans. He should have been given the boot for exploiting players without ensuring their educations: Instead all the boosters and the networks seemed to care about was his won-loss ratio. South Carolina is an SEC school. CBS has the contract for that conference, and benefits when the Gamecocks win. Where is the “60 Minutes” segment on SEC football graduation rates?

This 51% graduation rate and 46% graduation rate for African-Americans are irrelevant without knowing the five year graduation rate of the South Carolina student body and for African-Americans at the university. What if the five year graduation rate at South Carolina is 47% or the five year graduation rate of African-Americans is 37%? All of a sudden, 51% and 46% look pretty good for a graduation rate. Naturally, Gregg doesn't provide the five year graduation rate for South Carolina because either (a) he's not smart enough to realize it gives context to the point he wants to prove or (b) it would make his point about the graduation rate of football players under Steve Spurrier seem weak. Gregg is not above misleading his readers when faced with information he doesn't think proves what he wants to have proven.

Sarkisian’s team was graduating 47 percent of players, including 38 percent of African-Americans; Kiffin’s team had a 48 percent graduation rate, including 39 percent for African-American players. ESPN and Fox, which broadcast Pac-12 football, devoted lots of air time to the recruiting and ranking ramifications of the Kiffin and Sarkisian dismissals. Did either so much as mention graduation rates?

Again, without the context of the graduation rate for the student body as a whole, these numbers don't mean a hell of a lot. Also, ESPN and FOX broadcast Pac-12 football. They broadcast sports, so that's why they don't mention academics. Is this really such a difficult point to understand? 

And yet many big football programs exploit African-American football players for profit without giving them the level of support to get the bachelor’s degree that is most people’s ticket into the middle class, or even distract them from education by demanding all their time and effort go into football. In many cases the boosters and boards of trustees don’t care, and the sports broadcasting world, which takes a cut of the exploitation, stays silent.

Yes, that's how it works. Much like I criticize what Gregg writes in TMQ, while the company that takes a cut of the revenue TMQ brings in (haha...I can't imagine it does bring too much revenue in), stays silent on how Gregg will mislead his readers.

Throw to the Dancing Tree! This week’s favorite YouTube play is the Francis Owusu catch against U.C.L.A. The Bruins gained 505 yards on offense and lost by 21 points. Over in the Big Ten, Rutgers defeated Indiana, 55-52; the Hoosiers gained 627 yards and lost. Such stats are contemporary college football in a nutshell.

In the highlight video, check the dancing tree in the background. How come N.F.L. teams don’t have dancing trees?

Because no NFL team has a dancing tree as their mascot. That seems like the simplest and most correct answer. 

As part of the general conservatism of N.F.L. coaches, most rarely send an all-out rush against a punter. Often, only a few rushers make a halfhearted gesture. During the contested portion of the same game, New Orleans punted twice: Atlanta sent seven against one punt and five against the other. Viewers and spectators tend to yawn during N.F.L. punts. But watch the rush — it’s usually a token effort, and rarely an all-out attempt to block the kick.

NFL teams want to set up a return. That's what they want to do. When a team rushes at the punter in an attempt to block the punt then they run the risk of roughing the punter or running into the punter. Also, they can't set up a punt return if they try to block the punt, which is something a team likes to do in order to get better field position. 

On the final down of the Michigan State-Michigan game, the Spartans rushed 10. This might have made the punter, who dropped the snap, nervous. He might never have seen a 10-man rush. In standard-punt fashion, Michigan players brushed the defender in front of them, then headed downfield to cover the punt. As the kicker dropped the snap, there were three Wolverines trying to protect him from 10 Spartans.

This was a completely different situation because there was only 10 seconds left in the game and Michigan State had to block the punt in order to have a chance at winning the game. Setting up a return did not matter, because they were going to lose if they didn't block the punt. So comparing this situation to any other situation where there ISN'T 10 seconds left is to misunderstand situational strategy and why Michigan State sent 10 players to block the punt. Gregg consistently misunderstands situational strategy and how a strategy may be effective in one situation, but not in another situation. 

4th Down Bot Jumps Out of His Treads to Cheer for Michigan State. T.M.Q. feels the Spartans’ improbable last-play victory was the football gods rewarding Michigan State for going for it four times on fourth down. Though none of the tries succeeded, this was bold — and fortune favors the bold. 

Gregg is very tenuously trying to tie the Spartans going for it on fourth down four times with them winning the game. Of course, if the Spartans didn't block this punt (or cause the punter to fumble), then Gregg would have not mentioned at all how many times Michigan State went for it on fourth down because it would not have gone to prove his point. In a world where Michigan State doesn't win this game, but they went for it on fourth down four times, Gregg would simply leave out how many times they went for it on fourth down. Fortune didn't favor the bold and Gregg is full of shit by insisting this is always true. Instead, Gregg is full of shit because he insists that going for it on fourth down helped the Spartans win this football game. It was a fumbled punt that helped the Spartans win this football game.

Leading, 23-21, Michigan faced fourth-and-2 on the Michigan State 47 with 10 seconds remaining. Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh called a timeout to weigh his options. The worst was the one Harbaugh chose, a standard punt with the blockers abandoning the punter to sprint downfield. Other options:

Michigan could have kept in 10 men to defend the punter, 

And then punted the football. Maybe Harbaugh was afraid Michigan State would get a good return and have a field goal opportunity. This was the best choice though. 

and instructed him to punt out of bounds. The Wolverines could have gone for it, and if failing to convert, defend a passing heave from midfield.

Okay, no. But even if Michigan had kept 50 guys back to defend the punter then there is a chance he still would have dropped the ball. Also, I'm not trusting a college punter to kick the ball out of bounds, nor am I going for it on fourth down and letting Michigan State have a chance for a heave from midfield. 

Michigan could have put 10 blockers around the quarterback and instructed him to hold the ball as long as possible, then hurl it high toward the Spartans’ end zone. The clock probably would have expired with the ball in the air.

Yes, but if the clock doesn't expire with the ball in the air then Michigan State is in perfect field goal range. There are so many things that could go wrong here. I'm not even sure how Michigan could have put 10 blockers around the quarterback and still snap the football. Wouldn't they need to have guys lined up on the line of scrimmage prior to the snap? So if a receiver or offensive lineman starts running back to defend the quarterback from pass rushers, there is a good chance a blitzing Michigan State linebacker or a corner could beat the Michigan player back before he got a chance to set up and defend the quarterback. 

And throwing the ball in the air with the hopes time expires while it's in the air and a Michigan State player doesn't catch it? What kind of bullshit is that? 

But the primary factor surely is that big-money coaches are conditioned to do the “safe” thing and send in the kicker. That way the players are blamed — today everyone blames the Michigan punter — rather than Harbaugh, who botched the call.

It sort of is the Michigan punter's fault. He had to catch the ball and then punt it. Somehow Gregg doesn't trust the Michigan punter to catch the ball and punt it, but he trusts the Michigan punter to kick the ball out of bounds and trusts the Michigan quarterback to run around and heave the ball up in the air as time expires. These are less "safe" things to do, so they are obviously better decisions. 

New England’s continuing offensive success — the Patriots are No. 1 in scoring, No. 2 in yards — comes despite the fact that the Patriots have no receiver drafted in the first round and, with tackle Nate Solder injured, no one on offense who was a first-round selection. If the M.V.P. vote were held today, T.M.Q.’s ballot would be cast for the Flying Elvii undrafted rookie free-agent center David Andrews.

And this would be ridiculous because David Andrews is the member of an offensive line that has five members who all work best in concert with each other, thereby making it difficult to know which of these offensive lineman is the best individually. There are ways to tell which offensive lineman is performing well, but we all know Gregg pays zero attention to these metrics. He sees Andrews is on a good offensive line and that he is undrafted, so thereby awards him the MVP. 

Manly Man Play of the Week. New Orleans leading Atlanta 17-7 in the third quarter, facing fourth-and-goal on the Falcons’ 2, the hosts go for it, touchdown, and never look back...To avoid criticism, N.F.L. coaches usually do the “safe” thing in this situation. Engaging a risk — a mild risk, considering — may have helped Sean Payton revive the Saints’ season.

Or it may not have helped Sean Payton revive the Saints' season. One thing is for sure, if the Saints season is revived then it has nothing to do with how the Saints are playing out on the football field, but has everything to do with the Saints going for it on fourth down here. Because fortune favors the bold, unless the Michigan punter doesn't drop the football against Michigan State, in which case fortune does not favor the bold. Naturally. 

Manly Man Postscript. The Colts tried everything they could to snap their losing streak versus New England — onside kick, fake punt, three fourth-down attempts. That this game was close, while other recent Indianapolis-Patriots contests have been blowouts, shows the value of aggressive tactics. New England is clearly the better team, but playing aggressive kept the Colts close.

This is how full of shit Gregg is. He claims fortune favors the bold. Fine, I like teams that take risks too, but Gregg wants his readers to believe if a team is bold then that team will win the game. This is how Gregg's mind works. BUT, because the Colts were bold and still didn't win the game and everybody who follows the NFL knows this, he makes up some bullshit about how the Colts ALMOST won the game because they were bold. So apparently this isn't really a loss for the Colts because they were bold. Fortune favored the bold and playing aggressive kept the Colts close, so it was almost like a win, thereby proving Gregg's point correct. Gregg is now so desperate he's trying to claim fortune favors the bold in simply keeping a football game close. Keep lowering that bar in order to prove your ridiculous black and white theories correct, Gregg.

By the way, a very reasonable argument can be made if the Colts had not been so bold in trying a fake punt then they could have come away having won this game.

In all N.F.L. annals, there have been 11 contests with at least 90 points scored, most recently Broncos 51, Cowboys 48 in 2013. Contrast that to Baylor, which since 2011 alone has appeared in 14 games in which at least 90 points were scored. The N.F.L.’s highest-scoring contest ever was Washington 72, Giants 41 in 1966. In the last five seasons, Baylor has played five games generating more points than that N.F.L. contest: West Virginia 70, Baylor 63 in 2012; Baylor 67, University of Washington 56 in 2011; Baylor 61, T.C.U. 58 in 2013; and Baylor 73, West Virginia 42 in 2013.

There are only so many ways of saying, "College football games have a lot of points scored in them," and I think Gregg has written some variation of them all at this point. 

Chip Kelly Skedaddle Watch. In September, T.M.Q. asked, “How long till Kelly skedaddles back to college?” With Kelly’s name raised in connection with the U.S.C. job — surely, not planted by his agent! — Kelly Skedaddle Watch becomes a running item.

Can it not become a running item? If Chip Kelly does fail in the NFL, the odds of him going back to college are very high. He has succeeded in college football before, so it's very natural he will end up back in college football at some point. Bill Walsh was very successful in the NFL before retiring and ending up back as the head coach of Stanford. So maybe Kelly fails in the NFL, or even succeeds, then he could still end up back coaching college football. Bill Walsh is a good example of this. Kelly going back to coaching college football after this time in Philadelphia is through means about as much as Gregg leaving an online sports site like ESPN.com for a newspaper like "The New York Times" would mean. I don't think Gregg considers himself to have skedaddled back to a newspaper gig. Of course, the rules Gregg has for others are not rules he has for himself.